The Hospitality Messenger

Almost here! - new liquor laws

After months of uncertainty, new liquor laws were passed in Parliament at the end of June, although no word yet on when they might come into effect. Despite the State Government saying that no amendments would be made to its proposed new laws, amendments were passed. The new laws will affect many in the liquor and related industries, as well as applicants for new licences. The packaged liquor sector will be the most directly affected.

Contract law changes affecting liquor, hospitality, tourism and event industries

When a company experienced some form of insolvency event in the past, third parties that had contracts with that company were generally able to terminate or vary the contracts in many cases. The ability to do this helped “innocent” third parties to try to preserve and protect their position in relation to those contracts. However, contracts entered into from 1 July 2018 will be treated differently and third parties will no longer be able to readily terminate or vary contracts just because the other party has undergone some kind of insolvency event. Please see our May edition here for more information about the changes.

New advertising restrictions

On 29 June 2018, the State Government announced that it would ban alcohol advertisements from public transport. The changes will be phased in over this term of government, beginning with rail and digital billboard advertising, which is now in effect. Minister for Health, Roger Cook stated that “Preventative health is an important issue for all Western Australians. The impact of alcohol abuse on the community is staggering in terms of sickness, disability, effect on families, cost to the hospital system and early and preventable death.” Whereas the Transport Minister, Rita Saffioti, was quoted as saying that “I decided that the most prudent course of action was to allow the existing APN contracts to run their course, but that alcohol advertising be prohibited under any new agreements or contract extension options.” This development continues a trend in calls for the restriction of when and how alcohol products can be promoted. The question must be asked, are we headed toward a total alcohol advertising ban and plain packaging laws in the future?

It can go terribly wrong – the Liquor Commission disqualifies an experienced licensee

The licensee of Ongerup Hotel for the past 23 years has been both disqualified for five years from holding a licence and also fined $10,000. CCTV footage showed the licensee and a staff member sold or supplied alcohol on 19 separate occasions to a group of patrons after midnight until 01.53am. Patrons were also permitted to take open liquor from the licensed area. A member of the group who had been served outside permitted hours drove a vehicle home with another of the drinkers as his passenger. An accident ensued which resulted in the passenger being killed. On another occasion the licensee nor an approved manager was on site when police attended the Hotel. In addition there were a further 16 convictions for trading outside permitted hours.

LEU Officers

We are often asked about the role of officers from the Liquor Enforcement Unit and their powers under the Liquor Control Act with respect to licensees. As an “authorised officer” under the the Act, all police officers have considerable investigative powers. For example, they can enter and examine within licensed premises and require the licensee to provide information, assistance and records. A person who hinders a police officer may commit an offence.


18 Decisions of the Director of Liquor Licensing have been published so far in 2018, to June. Of those,a staggering 16 have been in respect of applications for liquor store licences. Of the 16 liquor store licence applications decided, 12 were approved by the Director. Of those 12, six were granted to ALDI, one to Liquorland and the remaining five were granted to various independent operators.

Clubs WA Awards for Excellence

Lavan was delighted to attend the annual clubs industry awards night at Crown on 16 June 2018. The team was thrilled to accept the Club Industry Supplier of the Year Award for the efforts of Lavan’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution partner Nick Stagg and our very own Jessica Patterson. Congratulations to all the other winners and nominees!

Disclaimer – the information contained in this publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek legal advice in relation to any particular matter you may have before relying or acting on this information. The Lavan team are here to assist.